This is a broad topic that includes a variety of therapeutic options including herbal remedies, homeopathic remedies, nutraceuticals and supplements. There are few controlled studies to show that any of these treatments are effective in pets.
There are receptors coating the surface of every cell with a nucleus that help to facilitate communication between cells. Biological response modifiers are large sugar molecules (immune polysaccharides), or sugar and protein molecules (glycoproteins) that interact with receptors on the surface of immune system cells.
Calcium supplements are given by mouth or injection and are used on and off label and over the counter to treat low blood calcium levers in many species. Give as directed by your veterinarian. Side effects are uncommon but may include constipation. Do not use in pets with high blood calcium. If a negative reaction occurs, please call your veterinary office.
Enzymes catalyze (enhance through increased rate of chemical reaction) virtually every function in the body, from digestion to tissue repair, and from hormone function to energy production. Without them, these same processes would occur much too slowly to be compatible with life.
Most omega fatty acid supplements are made primarily from fish oil or flax seed oil (see the separate handouts on these products in this series), although some products may include other oils such as evening primrose oil, hemp oil, or borage oil.
Flower essence therapy or flower therapy was developed by physician Edward Bach during the 1930's. During his years in practice, Dr. Bach developed the belief that people could be grouped based upon their emotional states, and that these emotions were the root cause of many of their diseases.
Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are complex molecules composed of proteins and sugars, and are found in a variety of bodily tissues, including the blood plasma, joints, and the mucosal (mucous membrane) lining of a variety of organs, including the gastrointestinal tract and the bladder. Various compounds exist. Heparan and dermatan coat the urinary tract of cats while glucosamine and chondroitin constitute the major GAGs in the joint.
Hawthorn, derived from various species of Crataegus, including C. oxyacantha, and C. monogyna, is one of the oldest known and best researched plants in western herbal medicine. It has been used in Chinese medicine to enhance digestion for centuries, and more recently as a means of lowering blood cholesterol.
There are an estimated 140,000 species of mushrooms in the world, and only an estimated ten percent of them have been characterized. Mushrooms are thus one of the great untapped resources in botanical medicine, especially when it is considered that their chief medicinal effects are against the diseases that concern us most, including cancer.
MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain killing) product. It is produced when DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide) is oxidized, but is also found in small quantities in horsetail (Equisetum sp.), milk, fruits, vegetables, and grains.